SEA assists nearly 1,200 during pandemic

Published 5:19 pm Tuesday, September 22, 2020

By SCOTT MIMS / Staff Writer

MONTEVALLO — It goes without saying that 2020 has brought unprecedented challenges for many individuals and families in Shelby County, and organizations like Shelby Emergency Assistance (SEA) have stepped up to meet as many of those needs as possible.

Even though SEA is based in Montevallo, the organization assists people throughout Shelby County and has assisted 1,193 individuals—and counting— since March 16, the day SEA began receiving requests for assistance related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

SEA receptionist Gail Knight answers incoming requests for assistance. (Contributed)

“Beginning on March 16, 2020, SEA went to remote services, providing client assistance via telephone and Internet,” said Executive Director Karen Pendleton. “Although there were some adjustments for staff, we quickly found that it was more efficient and we were able to meet the needs for assistance. During this period, we have assisted individuals and families from all parts of Shelby County and from all socio-economic groups.”

Assistance has included the following:

  • Food for 542 individuals
  • Rent assistance for 79 individuals
  • Utility bills (power, water and gas) for 468 individuals
  • Medication assistance with 80 prescriptions
  • Emergency dental services for 33 individuals
  • Doctor visits for four individuals
  • School supplies provided for 76 children
  • Job search and resume assistance provided for 26 individuals
  • 942 information and referral services provided

“Initially, most of the requests for help came from restaurant workers who had been laid off, had not begun receiving unemployment benefits, and were about to be evicted,” Pendleton explained. “Later, we began hearing from many single mothers who did not have childcare for their children and were unable to return to work. There were also several business owners who had to close their business and had no funds to pay for their home rent or electricity. Recently we have begun seeing more people needing medical assistance due to having lost their medical insurance when they lost their jobs. It has been a challenging time when so many aspects of normal living have been disrupted by COVID-19.”

She added that SEA takes pride in the fact that throughout the threat of the pandemic, the organization has not shut down its services and has continued to be available to all of Shelby County.

“It is important that we let the community know that we are here to provide assistance during this time,” Pendleton said. “We provide a wide range of basic needs assistance and strive to help individuals and families get through the crisis and back on their feet again.”

SEA is located at 160 Shoshone Drive, Montevallo, and may be contacted at 205-665-1942 or by email at For more information, visit